Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 5: Some of the Season's Best Cookbooks

It's Day 5 in our 24 Days of Books, and today we're cookin'!! I know we usually only talk about one book a day, but we've got a big appetite when it comes to cookbooks. This is the time of year when publishers produce some of the most beautiful cookbooks, designed to be given as gifts but often purchased by people who just can’t resist the allure of a gorgeously illustrated book about the best of all subjects, FOOD! Seriously, what’s not to like about food? No matter what your dietary restrictions, there is a cookbook for you. Here are five of our favorite new ones:

Dishing Up Oregon: 145 Recipes that Celebrate Farm-to-TableFlavors by Ashley Gartland is a collection of yummy recipes by chefs from Oregon’s very best restaurants, wineries, and purveyors of local foods. Using grown-in-Oregon ingredients that are fresh-fresh-fresh, these recipes celebrate the bounty that is available to lucky Oregonians. From grilled Oregonzola figs to hazelnut-crusted salmon with brown butter and balsalmic vinegar to blackberry bread pudding, these mouthwatering dishes will appeal to anyone who loves local food. Included are hundreds of full-color photos of the food, the chefs, the venues and the landscape, as well as sidebar essays about some of our most precious resources: the dairies, farms, wineries, and other suppliers whose products we all enjoy.

We’re so happy that the cookbook editors have finally figured out that many of us are vegan and/or gluten-free.  Here’s a wonderful little book that just came in: Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays:  This book is by Jennifer Katzinger, the author of Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book. It’s a collection of delicious and stylish recipes that are perfect for celebrating throughout the year. Even if you aren’t vegan and/or gluten-free, mightn’t someone at your table be? These are the holidays covered: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Passover, Easter, Fourth of July, and Halloween. Also: special sections on holiday cookies, cakes and breads, and a whole chapter of birthday cakes!

One of the most beautiful cookbooks this season is Yvette Van Boven’s Home Made: The Ultimate DIY Cookbook. Ms. Van Boven, who divides her time between Amsterdam and Paris, is a freelance food stylist and recipe writer and runs a lunch restaurant and catering business in Amsterdam. She is also an illustrator.  This book is FULL of photos, illustrations, hand-lettering, and more than 200 recipes that are as creative and unique as the author. From something as simple as biscuits to something as gourmet as duck confit, this book is a delight. Make your own cheese! Pickle a bit of mackerel! Concoct chocolate and caramel truffles! With two ribbon markers and a beautiful binding and hand-drawn endpapers, this $40 book is worth much more and makes a charming gift for almost any occasion.

All About Roasting: A New Approach to a Classic Art by Molly Stevens belongs on the shelf of any serious cook. A great companion to Ms. Stevens’ earlier book, All About Braising, this book brings her trademark thoroughness and eye for detail to the technique of roasting meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and even fruits. Show-stoppers include roast goose with potato-sage stuffing, porchetta made with a loin of pork, and brown-sugar roasted pineapple. Tons of photos, wine and beer pairings, recipes for  sauces, condiments, relishes and vinaigrettes and more. If you’ve ever wanted to know the very best way to roast anything – from a chicken to a batch of cherries – this is your book.

Essential Pepin by Jacques Pepin is a stunning collection of more than 700 all-time favorite recipes from the author’s life in food. This encyclopedic volume includes a searchable DVD demonstrating every technique a cook will ever need. “This book is a distillation of the very best of his creations, showing both the remarkable breadth of his cooking and the beautiful continuity of his dishes over the past sixty years. He makes food the way it should be made: simple, seasonally ripe, pure, and impossible to resist.” – Alice Waters

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